Thursday, September 10, 2015

In short: Harbinger Down (2015)

I’d really, really love to heap praise upon the film film made by the practical effects studio booted out of that floundering The Thing re-make/re-boot/whatever that went to Kickstarter to make a practical effects-based movie in the spirit of Carpenter’s original. Alas, it’s much too bad for that, and it really looks to be much more in the spirit of Italian rip-offs of The Thing, just realized without any of that spark of insanity that in their best moments made these films watchable and worthwhile despite things like bad acting, ridiculous scripts, and so on and so forth.

Harbinger Down does keep the bad acting – with the obvious exception of Lance Henriksen (who’d really deserve to be cast in a decent movie or ten in his old age again) and Camille Balsamo, who is merely mediocre – the thespians involved unable (and perhaps even not competent enough) to give life to the idiotic and mostly highly annoying one-note characters the script gives them to play.

Even apart from the non-characters, Harbinger Down’s script is the sort of catastrophe area that wouldn’t cut it as a SyFy Channel Original (nope, not even one of the bad ones), with no actual plot, no suspense, no theme, and certainly no emotional involvement ever threatening to appear. In other words – the film contains not a single constituting element of the movies it is claiming to be in the spirit of apart from some body horror special effects.

Though, quite ironically in a film selling itself on them, the practical effects aren’t much to write home about either. They’re not original in their conception, they’re not well-filmed (which fits the rest of Alec Gillis’s direction and its lack of visual imagination and flair perfectly), and there aren’t even all that many of them.

Take all this together, and you end up with just another sub-par monster movie, perhaps one a bit more boring than most. Which, given that we live at a point in time where we get one of these at least once a week, isn’t doing Harbinger Down or the poor people inflicting this stuff on themselves (my Mum always says self-pity is okay when you come by it the honest way, like watching a crappy movie) any favours.

No comments: